February 2014 ends well…

as although much of the month saw unsettled weather, with plenty of rain and wind,  it has remained relatively mild, and this week has seen two sunny mornings.

The tidied up strawberry bedOn Monday I tidied up the strawberry bed, where as you can see there are twelve plants well spaced so that I can walk and work between them. I must try to make sure that they don’t get swamped by the pot marigolds like they did last year.

Yesterday I hoed over the areas where I’ll be sowing broad beans and planting onion sets and the first early potatoes during mid/late March.

I’m pleased to see the crocuses ‘Blue Pearl’ and ‘Cream Beauty’ in the long planter,

Crocuses 'Blue Pearl' and 'Cream Beauty'with plenty of bees on them.  Elsewhere are purple, white and yellow ones -

Bee on a crocus   Purple crocus   White crocus    Yellow crocus

Tiny beetles and ladybirds on the logpileI was also pleased to see some ladybirds and tiny iridescent beetles sunning themselves on the log pile.

One of the first, and a very small, narcissusBy yesterday the first, very small, narcissus had flowered, with lots more to come over the coming weeks.

There are plenty of other signs that spring is almost here.

Have a good weekend!

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I’ve been given…

Liebster award, discover new blogs!a Liebster award over on Linda’s wildlife garden. My thanks to Linda for this, and as usual it’s taken me a couple of weeks to do a post about it. I’m also cheating a bit as I always do with these posts.

Here are her questions and my answers -

1…What new seed are you trying that you’ve never tried before?   I try a new annual flower seed most years but something a bit different this year will be Common Cress!  I’ll be doing a post about this once I’ve hopefully grown and eaten some in an egg and cress sandwich. 

2…What new food or drink would you try?  I’d like to try something like chayote.

3…If could take only one book with you to a remote island what would it be?  A good dictionary which I would read from A to Z and also pick a random word every day.

Snow leopard4…What’s your favourite animal and why?  The magnificent snow leopard as I’ve always liked cats of all sizes.

5…What’s your favourite TV or radio programme? One of my all time favourite TV series was the comedy Porridge.

6…If you could have just one fruit tree in the garden what would it be?  A peach tree as there’s nothing nicer than a freshly picked, slightly warm and juicy peach.

7…If you could have a famous garden helper for a day who would it be?  It would have to have been Geoff Hamilton for his down-to-earth outlook and sheer enthusiasm.

Pot marigold 18-138…If you could save one seed what would it be and why?  It’s really impossible to pick just one so I’ll have to choose a pot marigold like this simply because it’s a Flighty’s favourite!

9…Who would like to have stay for the weekend and why?  It would have to be  David Attenborough  simply because of who he is and what he’s done during his lifetime.

10…What would you cook for a dinner date?  It would be during the summer when all I’d need cook is some sweetcorn cobs and new potatoes to go with a salad including cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes all straight from the plot. And for dessert freshly picked raspberries and cream. 

I’m not nominating anyone to give this award to but if you want to do a post answering the above questions then please do, and feel free to say that I gave you the award.

Have a good week!

Posted in Lawn lounging | 24 Comments

O and P (part 1of 2)…

continues the Plot A to Z series of posts and features just onions and potatoes.

I grow both every year and generally do well with them.  I buy my onion sets and seed potatoes early in the new year at the horticultural society trading shed, which sells them loose so they can be bought by quantity or weight.

Onion sets 'Red Baron'This year there were the usual onion sets Sturon which I always buy and growalong with the red variety Red Baron which I’ve not grown before so I’m trying a few for the first time. 

Onions 'Sturon'I like my onions to be no bigger than tennis ball size like these two Sturon, which are among the few that I’ve still got in store to use.

I grew plenty as I use them with cheese in sandwiches, fried with sausages and mash and to make onion soup.

Seed potatoes 'Vales Emerald'I eat potatoes most days so grow four varieties which keep me going from August until at least March. The past couple of years I’ve grown the same ones and will be doing so again this year.  They’re first earlies Vales Emerald, second earlies Charlotte and Kestrel, and main crop Desiree.  At the moment they’re in the spare room chitting and, soil conditions and weather permitting, I hope to plant them out between late March and mid April.  

Potatoes 'Charlotte'Of these Charlottes are my favourites and I’m just about to use the last of them, leaving me with about a month’s worth of Desiree still in store.  I mostly boil and mash my potatoes as it’s quick and easy, but I do also enjoy them baked, chipped and roasted.

I rotate growing both these vegetables through three areas year to year as recommended, which I’m sure helps to avoid problems.

I’ll be doing O and P (part 2 of 2) in a couple of weeks, which will mention parsnips, poppies and other things.

Edited to include this terrific O and P award with thanks to Glo (Porcelain Rose) -

O and P award

Have a good weekend!

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What willow?

As I mentioned last week Lucy over at Loose and Leafy is doing Tree following again this year and has now done this excellent post explaining what it’s all about and what to do if you want to take part.

Tree following 2014Even if if you don’t you may well want to look at, or follow, some or all of the blogs which are so you can either bookmark the above link, or you can find it by clicking on the Tree following  image over on the right-hand side.

The allotment site willow treeI’m following the willow just outside the allotment gates, as seen here last September from inside the allotment site.

The first thing that I would like to do is establish what willow it is.  Chloris  says that it looks like a weeping willow (salix babylonica) which I’m happy to go along with.

Happy Tree following!

Posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn loungers, Lawn lounging | Tagged | 29 Comments

The sun’s shining…

and there are blue skies so it’s not a day to be indoors blogging.

After I’ve finished my cup of tea I’m off to have a leisurely stroll round the allotments, then home for lunch and afterwards off out again.  

Robin singing awayI’m sure that the robin, seen here on Thursday morning, will be singing away today.   

Yellow crocusMaybe the sun will tempt some of the crocuses, like this yellow one, into flowering.

Enjoy your day, and have a good week!

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Posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn loungers | 32 Comments

One way and another…

there have been few reasons to be optimistic of late, thanks mainly to the often appalling weather, however I have been thankful that I’ve been able to smile now and again.

Poppy 'Victoria Cross'It’s always good to receive seeds from fellow bloggers and in the past week Linda kindly sent me a packet of  Poppy Victoria Cross, and Caro some nasturtiums including the variety Empress of India.

It’s good to see that Lucy over on Loose and Leafy is doing the Tree following again this year. I’m going to follow the majestic willow that stands just outside the allotments, as seen here this morning.

The willow, February 2014

I see that Elaine, over at Ramblings from Rosebank, and Janet/Plantaliscious are taking part.

TeddyI spotted this little brown Teddy laying face down in a roadside puddle whilst I was out and about during the week. Since there was nowhere to leave him I bought him home where, after a much needed wash and dry, he’s looking happier.

Have a good weekend!

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And yesterday’s Sofa flying blog post was eReading February 2014.

Posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn loungers | 31 Comments

M and N…

takes my very occasional Plot A to Z  series of posts past the half-way mark.

myosotisMalva sylvestris (Common mallow) often grows on the plot being something that appears to self-seed without any problems. I have grown myosotis (Forget-me-nots) in the past but they didn’t re-appear last year so I’ll have to sow some more.

I don’t grow marrows but if I had a greenhouse I would certainly try growing melons. The ones to try here in the UK are the F1 hybrids Century and Emir.

N sees no vegetables but plenty of flowers. The most prevalent are the various narcissus - which is the latin name of the genus regardless irrespective of the shape or size of the trumpet, with the common name daffodil restricted to varieties where the trumpet is as long, or longer, than the petals.  The coming weeks should see lots flowering on the plot, which are always a welcome sight just as I start plotting regularly again.  

I grow the annuals nemophila maculata Five Spot, nigella damascena (Love-in-a-Mist) and various colourful nasturtiums, which as well as looking good are also edible. 

nasturtiums-variousAccording to the Chiltern Seeds catalogue the latter is botanically Tropaeolum, whilst the unrelated Nasturtium is water cress! 

The most exotic plot plant has to be the nerine bowdenii, which flowers for my birthday if I’m lucky as I was in 2012.

[The next two posts in this series will both be about O and P, with the first being all about the onions and potatoes that I sow, grow and eat.]

Have a good week!  

Edited Monday, 10th February to include Glo’s (Porcelain Rose) delightful award -

M and N award

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